Engineering Now .: Volume 4 - Edition 2 .: October 2007

Engineers Without Borders "Squash the Pumpkin" 2007

The Pumpkin Drop team gathers around the carnage after dropping a giant pumpkin followed by a massive squash on UC Hill

Grey skies and a slow drizzle could not dampen the spirits of the several hundred people who came out to UC Hill to watch the Engineers Without Borders third annual pumpkin drop on Tuesday, October 23.

The event, which is estimated to have raised nearly $2000 to help fund Engineers Without Borders’ overseas activities, was a crowd-pleaser.

No one appeared disappointed when, after some minor delays due to equipment problems, a 750lb pumpkin was dropped by crane from a height of 190 feet. The crowd counted down from ten, waiting in anticipation as the pumpkin dangled high above.

When the giant pumpkin did come down, it came down with a smash. Exploding on impact with the wet, soggy ground, it showered the surprised but delighted crowd with gooey chunks of pumpkin meat and seeds.

Amid the laughter and cheers, organizers then announced an encore presentation – the dropping of an 850lb squash. It too met the same untimely fate as the pumpkin, and spectators roared their appreciation as pulverized squash rained down on them.

There were serious issues behind all the fun, however. The standing mission of Engineers Without Borders is to eradicate poverty. But another goal of the organizers of this event was to raise awareness among Western’s student body about tied-aid. Tied-aid is a term used to describe aid and donations that developed countries like Canada promise to third world countries - but with strings attached. For example a condition of receiving any money might be that in the end, it will have to be spent only on Canadian goods and services, explained the volunteers to the audience.

It’s an issue that the 30 or so pumpkin drop volunteers, all dressed up in highly visible, bright orange coveralls for the day, seemed very passionate about as they chatted to the crowd though speakers.

Siying Li, the director of the pumpkin drop, said it is the goals behind the event that makes the effort worthwhile.

"Just thinking about the impoverished families in third world countries, all our hard work is well paid-off," she said. “And the humongous orange fruit really made a loud statement about smashing poverty. It was stunning and effective."

After all was said and done, and the vegetable carnage was being cleaned up, team member Ian Molnar said he was very pleased with how the event had gone.

“This was the best pumpkin drop we’ve had in the three years we’ve done it. In terms of crowd, their enthusiasm, and in terms of the impact the pumpkin had,” he said.

Watch the footage of both drops at


Also from this web page:


.: Becky Blue
Spencer Engineering Building, Room 2074
Telephone: (519) 850-2917 Fax: (519) 661-3808